Adam Lanza, the Tsarnaev brothers, and Kermit Gosnell all hold something in common. Much has been made of Adam Lanza’s shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Tsarnaev brothers bombing at the Boston Marathon. Kermit Gosnell, of equally gruesome repute, if not notoriety, is an abortionist on trial for conducting horrific abortions, and killing at least one woman.
These four men, contemporaries of each other in history, hold a single proposition in common. All of them rejected the notion of the sanctity of human life. Lanza believed that the lives of elementary school children were not valuable, not sacred. The Tsarnaevs believed that the lives of whomever happened into the blast zone of their bombs were not valuable, not sacred. Kermit Gosnell used scissors to snip the spinal cords of aborted infants who were born alive. He’s even accused of leaving an infant to struggle for its life, and eventually drown, in a toilet: not valuable, not sacred.
As a culture, we have allowed and embraced a commoditization of human life. For well over a generation, we have measured human life against the value of other things: money, convenience, comfort, ideology. While the deeper roots of this commoditization preceed Roe v. Wade, that decision, and our willingness to embrace of killing unborn infants, is a clear point of demarcation that anyone can see. The message is unmistakable, regardless of how you try to argue, nuance or position the argument. Not all human life is sacred.
The value of human life is no longer assumed. Instead, some person, whether court, or politician, or whomever, is now the arbiter of what human life is valued, and what is not. Those without value may be disposed of for good reason, or for whim, it matters not a bit. In a culture where “man” obviously set the criterion by which human life is valued, Adam Lanza simply, and if I might be so bold, logically applied a different criterion. The Tsarnaev’s decided to apply a different measure of value to human life than the courts, or the prevailing law. Kermit Gosnell decided that unborn infants, even when born alive and viable, were not entitled to life.
We have made a commodity of the human person, and human life. We should not be surprised then, that some among us choose to measure the value of life against their own criterion. In the heart of God, for whom all human life is equally sacred, these events are all equally horrific, equally evil. When our utilitarian and capricious valuing of human life is replaced by an awe and holy respect for every person, we can begin to rest easier and feel safer. Until then, we should expect more of the same, and sadly, worse.